Kate McGarry

Jazz Arts Dept.

With six critically acclaimed CDs and a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal CD, Kate McGarry has become recognized as a jazz artist who sings with authenticity and vitality across a broad spectrum of genres. The Wall Street Journal called her singing “austere and elegant” and the New York Times pronounced her music “astute and sensitive.” Downbeat magazine has cited McGarry as a Rising Star vocalist for the past seven years. She has been interviewed on All Things Considered and has performed on Jazz Set with DeeDee Bridgwater, Piano Jazz with Marion McPartland, and other nationally syndicated radio programs. Singer Kate McGarry grew up in Hyannis, Massachusetts, as one of 10 children in a musical family that spent many nights singing together. At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst she earned a degree in Afro-American Music and Jazz. Kate began developing her organic vocal style through early training with Gospel music scholar Dr. Horace Boyer and iconic saxophonist Archie Shepp. Her experiences studying at a meditation ashram and exploring Celtic, Brazilian, and Indian music also contributed to her widescreen vision as a vocalist and composer. 

 The Wall Street Journal called her Grammy-nominated 2008 album, If Less Is More, Nothing Is Everything, “an exceptionally appealing blend of folk and jazz.” McGarry’s fifth CD for Palmetto Records, Girl Talk, was released in the spring of 2012. A tribute to her favorite visionary jazz women vocalists, it garnered 4 stars in Downbeat and showed up on over 20 Best of 2012 jazz critics’ lists. The Grammy-nominated collaboration with John Hollenbeck and Theo Bleckmann, Songs I Like A Lot, was lauded as a milestone in contemporary vocal jazz.

McGarry currently performs at some of the most beloved jazz clubs and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. As an educator she is in demand for clinics and master classes worldwide and, in addition to Manhattan School of Music, has taught on the faculty of the New England Conservatory using Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. The singer has collaborated with such jazz luminaries as Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling, Maria Schneider, and John Hollenbeck as well as Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown. Kate represented the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center as a jazz ambassador for three years running in the American Music Abroad program, sharing jazz music with people in Albania, Romania, Brazil, Chile, China, and Mongolia.

Kate currently lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband, guitarist Keith Ganz. In 2014 the couple celebrated 10 years of musical and life partnership with their first live duo recording, Genevieve and Ferdinand, on Sunnyside Records. As the Nashville Scene noted, “McGarry embraces jazz’s freedom and points the genre toward a future that’s as fresh and thrilling as its past.”